Words: Jakob Schiller
Steve Sullivan has a family and job but he still tries to get in an early morning skin before work in Jackson Hole.
As a clothing designer, he wanted to build a brand specifically for that indoor/outdoor routine; something that he could ski in, and then wear back to his office.
His answer is Stio, a soft goods line that launched in Jackson in 2011.
“The line is definitely about making something that you can wear in all aspects of your life,” Sullivan says.
The technical part of the Stio line was easy for Sullivan. He also co-founded Cloudveil, an outdoor company that’s been around since 1997. He helped take that company from a two-man show to a leading brand but moved on in 2010.
At the heart of the Stio line are pieces like the Rambler Reversible Jacket. One side of the jacket is a windshell made with Pertex Microlight Minirip Nylon. The other side is a heavyweight cotton flannel that is office appropriate at places like the Stio headquarters.
“Stio is definitely a reflection of how my life has evolved,” Sullivan says. “I wanted to make stuff that was more multi-functional.”
The line features several ski-specific items, including the Environ jacket, that carry over the technical pedigree Sullivan developed at Cloudveil. But Sullivan says Stio is not trying to promote itself as some kind of exclusive adventure company.
That’s why you won’t see ice climbers on the front of the Stio catalog, he says. He knows that most outdoor brands, even though they market to the extreme crowds, sell the majority of their lines to middle America.
“We’re not trying shove something down your throat saying you have to be the biggest badass to wear our stuff,” he says.
Andy Scott, an athlete and tech entrepreneur out of Truckee, California, who is a brand ambassador for Stio, says he’s hooked because his daily routine is much like Sullivan’s.
“I’m a skier, mountaineer, cyclist, but I’m also a family guy, businessman, and community volunteer. A day in my life visits all of these facets from mountain to office to cafe to schools, and I love not having to necessarily do full wardrobe swaps,” he says.
Scott says he also appreciates Stio’s truth in marketing and likes that there’s no pretense to the line.
“So many outdoor brands market a gnarly adventure lifestyle that is all about aspiration so they can sell cheaply made products to an urban crowd who buy them for the ‘gnarly’ logo the brand represents,” he says. “I’m not trying to represent or show something with my brands or clothing that is anything more or less than what I actually need and value.”